Thursday, July 9, 2009

Moon, Inc.

I asked for tickets to Moon, Inc. at the theater the other night, which was a conflation of the new low budget sci-fi movie Moon and the documentary (exposé) on food corporatism Food, Inc. but in fairness that may have been because it was pretty obvious from the summary that an evil corporation was central to the Moon plot.

More on that in a second.

First, because you probably haven't heard of it, Moon is a new movie by director Duncan Jones which stars Sam Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell, approaching the end of his three year contract for Lunar Industries when things start to go awry. His computer companion, Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) seems to be helpful, but is he?

OK, yeah, clichéd as all get out. What works, though, is Sam Rockwell, a fine actor who has incredible range: There are times in this movie where he doesn't quite look like himself. And this movie gives him a chance to show range, which he manages to do without really recalling other characters, like Crewman Guy from Galaxy Quest or Wild Bill from Green Mile.

Kevin Spacey, whose voice is the sort of pleasantly bland, banally modulated sound we've come to expect in movie computers, and whose character's emotions are otherwise represented by a series of emoticons, very AIM-like smileys, still manages to convey some kind of subdued humanity, thanks to one of the least clichéd aspects of the story.

This part, Spacey and Rockwell--who are basically it, as far as presences in the movie--really does work, and makes the movie more engaging to me than, say, the more opulent Public Enemies.

Now, from an economic standpoint? The movie makes not a lick of sense. I'm sure I'm it will come as no surprise to you (or anyone else who's ever been to a movie) that, in this movie about a corporation, greed is the primary lens through which the corporation is viewed.

But we have, as with the execrable The Constant Gardener, a poor sense of scale. Lunar Industries is supposed to be providing the earth--the entire freaking planet--with 70% of its "clean energy needs". The problem that the corporation is presented as solving in a creative money-saving way is nowhere in the order of magnitude of the amount of money they'd have at their disposal.

And the solution is positively absurd. It really raises more questions than it solves. An undertaking of the magnitude implied would be far more expensive and challenging than the supposed solution.

Also, a significant percentage of the earth's energy being dependent on one man?

Yeah. No. No chance.

But that's okay, it's not really the various "reveals" or "plot twists" that make this movie. The story lays things out pretty quickly, and where the movie excels is with Sam struggling with being away from earth for so long, missing his young daughter, working through his personal anger issues, and so on.

So, a good little movie. Entertaining, dramatic, nicely done cheap effects--looked like models instead of CGI, which I like. Spare without being austere. Nice use of a limited budget.

Check it out.


  1. Finally saw this. Absolutely loved it. You're right that it made no sense. Luckily it was good enough that the nonsensical aspect can be ignored while watching.

    Incidentally, I got the impression that his base was just one of many, not the whole operation, by my impression could have been wrong.

  2. Well, okay, if there were more than one, then wouldn't it make more sense for there to be a system of (avoiding spoilers) the various bases helping each other?


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